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Liturgical ‘devastation’ reflects serious crisis of faith, says Cardinal Sarah

March 31, 2017

In an address to a German conference marking the 10th anniversary of the Summorum Pontificum, Cardinal Robert Sarah, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, offered an extraordinarily blunt appraisal of “the disaster, the devastation, and the schism that the modern promoters of a living liturgy caused.”

Cardinal Sarah reminded his audience that in releasing Summorum Pontificum, broadening access to the traditional Latin liturgy, Pope Benedict XVI had expressed the hope that the two forms of the Roman rite would enrich each other. That enrichment is badly needed, the cardinal argued, in light of the impoverished state of the Catholic liturgy today. He said:

The serious crisis of faith, not only at the level of the Christian faithful but also and especially among many priests and bishops, has made us incapable of understanding the Eucharistic liturgy as a sacrifice, as identical to the act performed once and for all by Jesus Christ, making present the Sacrifice of the Cross in a non-bloody manner, throughout the Church, through different ages, places, peoples and nations. There is often a sacrilegious tendency to reduce the Holy Mass to a simple convivial meal, the celebration of a profane feast, the community’s celebration of itself, or even worse, a terrible diversion from the anguish of a life that no longer has meaning or from the fear of meeting God face to face, because His glance unveils and obliges us to look truly and unflinchingly at the ugliness of our interior life.

“Even today, a significant number of Church leaders underestimate the serious crisis that the Church is going through: relativism in doctrinal, moral and disciplinary teaching, grave abuses, the desacralization and trivialization of the Sacred Liturgy,” Cardinal Sarah argued. He said that while some liturgists say the period after Vatican II as a “springtime” for the Church, today wiser observers recognize “a renunciation of her centuries-old heritage.”

“Political Europe is rebuked for abandoning or denying its Christian roots,” Cardinal Sarah remarked. “But the first to have abandoned her Christian roots and past is indisputably the post-conciliar Catholic Church.”

 
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  • Posted by: koinonia - Apr. 02, 2017 9:32 PM ET USA

    "He said that while some liturgists say the period after Vatican II as a 'springtime' for the Church, today wiser observers recognize 'a renunciation of her centuries-old heritage.' 'Political Europe is rebuked for abandoning or denying its Christian roots,' Cardinal Sarah remarked.'But the first to have abandoned her Christian roots and past is indisputably the post-conciliar Catholic Church.'" There is no solution without an accurate assessment. This is a pretty good, albeit jolting, start.

  • Posted by: cesareofg5620 - Apr. 01, 2017 3:32 AM ET USA

    God bless Cardinal Sarah. Thanks to God, he is like a pure breeze among so putrid winds.

  • Posted by: MWCooney - Mar. 31, 2017 4:08 PM ET USA

    How long will the good cardinal survive in his office under the current Pope? Francis does not seem at all tolerant of those who dare to disagree with him. He is, in a word, rigid.

  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Mar. 31, 2017 2:36 PM ET USA

    Once again, solid, sound observations from Cardinal Sarah. The liturgy is impoverished because the Church has basically abandoned teaching about its core difference between every other religion, no matter how "good", namely, the Eucharist. And, in the end, that means abandoning what was really all about. As best I can tell from reading Vatican II documents, the Council made a significant contribution to this situation.